Spy balloon: radars that were blind

Spy-balloon: radars that were blind


The United States and Canada have had to readjust their radars to better detect spy balloons, some of which have flown with impunity in North American airspace until recently.  

In a press briefing on Monday, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby admitted that unidentified aircraft have likely flown over North American skies for years without governments bothering to to study the phenomenon in depth.

But in the wake of the alleged Chinese spy balloon shot down on February 4 off the coast of South Carolina, the radars of NORAD, the Aerospace Defense Command of the North America, have been adjusted, which would also explain why other flying objects have been detected in the past few days. 

In mortise, the balloon recovered in South Carolina after being destroyed on February 4 by the Americans.

Incognito Giants

“Objects that fly slowly at high altitude […] are difficult for our radars to detect. Even objects the size of China's spy balloon, the size of three school buses, went undetected by previous administrations or other countries,” said John Kirby. 

The parameters of NORAD radars have been modified so that they can better detect smaller flying objects as well as those circulating at high altitude. 

The United States Defense has also made its mea culpa , after reports surfaced that at least three balloons had been spotted during the previous Trump administration.

“I will tell you that we did not detect these threats. And that's a flaw we need to understand,” NORAD chief General Glen VanHerck admitted in a press briefing last week.

On the Canadian side, Major General Paul Prévost, of the Strategic Joint Staff, said Monday that another flying object had been detected in 1999 in Canadian airspace, but that there had been no others since to his knowledge. /p>

A message sent to the opponent 

One thing is certain, the United States and Canada do not discuss these flying objects in the public space solely for military purposes, believe experts.

“Normally, in defense, we want to hide our capabilities , so we watch, we study, but we don't intervene,” recalls Pierre Leblanc, retired colonel and former commander of Joint Task Force (North) Canada.

According to the latter, a The “political” context partly explains the media coverage of the phenomenon.

“It's not a military decision, but a political decision. It demonstrates a desire, not only on the part of the United States, but also of Canada, to signal to the adversary that we want to dissuade him from acting in such a way”, also believes Christian Leuprecht, professor at the Collège Royal Canadian Army.

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